Artificial Intelligence

Our Investment in PhysicsX

Delivering on the Promise of AI in Advanced Industry
November 27, 2023
min read

Machine learning is in a Renaissance period. We have underscored that this technology revolution is unlike previous ones such as the transition to cloud because incumbents now have a significant advantage: they have meaningful brand equity, substantial proprietary data, and established supply chain orchestration. 

Advanced industry giants are among those poised to drive technological change in this new era. Advanced industries’ spend on AI tooling and infrastructure is growing rapidly, with discrete and process manufacturing alone forecasted to make up 16.6% of all spend on AI technology this year. The application of AI to simulation in particular has captivated the research community, with the number of academic papers on the topic increasing thirty-fold between 2016 and 2021. Yet an excess of legacy tooling, systems, and industry-tailored solutions permeate the existing stack, exposing the need for a software innovator that intimately understands how to embed deep learning in complex infrastructures.

Today, we are proud to announce that General Catalyst is leading the $32M Series A financing for PhysicsX, a deep learning simulation software leader already proving the promise of AI in advanced industry. PhysicsX’s focus on applications that aim to positively impact the climate and humanity’s health and future, as well as their “radical collaboration” with industry juggernauts, make them perfectly suited to our Responsible AI thesis. We are equally excited to partner with what we think is an expert syndicate including Standard Investments, NGP, and Radius Capital.

In the simplest terms, PhysicsX expands what engineering is capable of achieving. Today, simulation software is assumptions-based. Engineers input parameters that reflect what they think an output will look like and how it will function. Before customers work with PhysicsX, they have a multitude of limitations to their work. PhysicsX employs deep learning surrogates to explore the complete design space of an object. With Velo3D, for example, PhysicsX applied their models to additive manufacturing inefficiencies, and enabled engineers to obtain part and system performance not previously achievable. Engineers can have the confidence that resulting designs are reliably manufacturable without imposing simplified design assumptions., all while requiring significantly fewer computational resources than traditional simulation. PhysicsX has proven it can deliver on the promise of AI in advanced industries with real-world, deployed products.

PhysicsX’s Excellent Leadership

We built a relationship with the inimitable Robin Tuilie and Jacomo Corbo for over a year as their work with multinational customers accelerated. However, it did not take long to learn that they are each among the best in their fields—and together, a formidable combination. Dr. Robin Tuluie‘s pioneering work in virtual simulation and digital engineering underpins the technical foundations of PhysicsX’s work to date. Jacomo Corbo’s expertise in data science was most notably on display at QuantumBlack, where he was founder and Chief Scientist, scaling the organization to 1500+ technical practitioners globally. The two cut their teeth in Formula One, often referred to as the R&D workforce for simulation technology. At PhysicsX, they are bringing these innovative approaches beyond the racetrack.

Driving Trust in Advanced Industry 

We believe radical collaboration is essential to achieve the transformation of any industry, and PhysicsX’s close partnerships with advanced industry multinationals are textbook examples of this approach. As we see it, the exceptional PhysicsX team has worked hand in hand with both executives and front line engineers to ensure a clear understanding of the potential benefits their software provides—and how they achieve such high accuracy in such a short period of time. This is no small feat, as a recent NAFEMS survey highlighted lack of understanding and trust as key impediments to the greater adoption of AI-based simulation. Our conversations with PhysicsX’s customers gave us unwavering confidence that they can build an enduring business trusted by advanced industry leaders. 

Partnering with Jim Baum

We are proud to be teaming up with outstanding industry partners, including GC XIR Jim Baum, who will join the company’s board. Jim brings over 25 years of experience growing and managing cutting-edge technology businesses including at Netezza, Endeca, Onshape and PTC. We and Jim are deeply aligned around the opportunity to bring responsible AI into advanced industry.

We believe PhysicsX will enable extraordinary change in advanced industry engineering—the combined opportunity in aerospace, medical devices, additive manufacturing, electric vehicles, motorsport, and renewables is enormous. We are energized to partner with Robin, Jacomo, and the entire team and look forward to sharing more about their impactful work soon.